Former Congressman Mike Coffman confirms bid for Aurora mayor seat

FILE – In this Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, file photograph, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., who represents Congressional District 6, greets voters at the Great Wall Chinese Academy, a school that teaches Mandarin language and Chinese culture in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

* This story has been updated to include Mike Coffman’s plans for his campaign and agenda, if elected.

AURORA | Former Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman is in the race for Aurora mayor, the longtime Aurora resident’s spokeswoman confirmed to the Sentinel on Thursday. 

“I’m running because I know that I can bring my leadership, experience, and knowledge to the City of Aurora to address the challenges of affordable housing, transportation, and public safety,” Coffman said in a statement about his candidacy.

The former congressman said he’d specifically work on those aspects of Aurora, if elected. But also has plans to bolster the city’s diversity. He said he’d be open to making designations like K-Town or Little Ethiopia, for example.

“We could get people to come here,” Coffman said. “It could be very positive.”

On transportation, Coffman said he wants to work on a metro-wide solution. When asked about raising taxes like Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers has — who Coffman said he met with last week — Coffman said Aurora is different than Colorado Springs in that Aurora is part of a much larger metropolitan region.

“We may have to raise revenue,” he said. “I think probably we can take on our existing roads, when I talk about metro cooperation I think that’s where there are solutions.”

Coffman said he’d focus on innovative ideas for affordable housing and making sure growth in the eastern portion of the city is balanced, along with focusing on redevelopment along the East Colfax Ave. corridor in Aurora.

That’s where Coffman would also like to see some focus on public safety, he said.

Coffman, who lost to Democrat Rep. Jason Crow in November, has been suspected of eyeing the seat, currently held by Mayor Bob LeGare. LeGare was appointed by city council members to be mayor when former Mayor Steve Hogan died last year.

LeGare said during the appointment process he would not run for the seat. 

Coffman served as the congressman for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District for nearly a decade. The Republican attempted to bridge political divides, touting his place in the bipartisan “problem solvers” caucus and breaking with Republicans on several immigration issues, including DACA, the policy that allowed some young immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the country.

Coffman elevated Aurora’s diversity while in office, teaching himself Spanish, regularly appearing on Spanish radio and television shows and spending most of his weekends home in the district at different religious centers.

Omar Montgomery, the leader of Aurora’s NAACP, former councilwoman Renie Peterson and Ryan Frazier, a former councilman and candidate for U.S. Senate, have also pulled packets indicating they, too, will run for the mayor seat.